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Biographical entry Willett, Edgar William (1856 - 1928)

MRCS July 16th 1883; FRCS June 14th 1888; BA Oxon 1879; MA MB 1885; MD 1904; LSA 1883.

12 April 1928
Hartfield, Sussex


Second son of Henry Willett, brewer, of Brighton, well known as a collector and antiquarian; cousin of Alfred Willett (qv). Educated at Wellington College, he matriculated in the University of Oxford from New College on Oct 15th, 1875, graduated BA with 1st class honours in the School of Natural Science in 1879; took the degree of MA and BM in 1885, and the DM in 1904.

He entered St Bartholomew's Hospital in October, 1879, served as House Surgeon to Sir William Savory (qv) for the year 1883-1884, and was appointed Assistant Chloroformist to the Hospital in October, 1884, acting at the same time as Assistant Demonstrator of Anatomy in the Medical School. From 1888-1893 he occupied the post of Curator of the Museum, and from 1897-1906 he was Administrator of Anaesthetics both at St Bartholomew's Hospital and at the Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease in Queen Square, Bloomsbury. In 1905 he was chosen President of the Society of Anaesthetists. He had learnt from Joseph Mills, the chief administrator of anaesthetics at St Bartholomew's Hospital, the admirable sequence of nitrous oxide-ether-chloroform, which he always used.

Willett served for a few years as Assistant Surgeon to the Metropolitan Hospital, as Surgeon to the Belgrave Hospital for Children, and as Surgeon to the British Orphan Institution; but finding surgery uncongenial and becoming a wealthy man on the death of his father, he retired to a country life at Worth Park, in Sussex, where he became proficient in croquet and in sport.

Entering the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps as a private, he rose to the rank of Captain, and during the European War acted as Registrar at the Croydon General Hospital with a Commission as Major RAMC (T). He retired at the end of the War to Hartfield, near Forest Row, Sussex, and died there unmarried on April 12th, 1928.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1928, I, 837. Personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England